Protecting 200 Acres in Oregon – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Protecting 200 Acres in Oregon

| Posted in Oregon Farm

wild daisies

June 20, 2024

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s our last full day on our Oregon farm, and we head back to our life in Southern California tomorrow. Today I’m meeting with the Oregon Fish and Wildlife OFW office, and one of their fish biologists. We have a Riparian plan that we need to finalize with the state of Oregon in order to continue some tax breaks we get for not developing an area of the property that has vital riparian habitat.

This climate activists life has led me here, to Oregon. There is no way to hide from climate change, our entire way of life will change. But we can all do what we can, in this chaotic reorganizing of society. This isn’t a climate bunker because the forest that surrounds us is likely to burn from wildfires at some point. But it was a way for me to deal with my climate anxiety. If I can just save these 200 acres, than I would have done some of our part. I remember when we flew out here during the COVID pandemic when travel finally opened up a bit, and we were up in this place during May. The ground was so healthy, and there were large birds of prey flying overhead. Knowing how degraded much of our earth is now, I realized how precious this place was. We “own” it but how does one own anything? You can’t “own” anything because our time on this earth is limited. I’m not afraid of death, because truly that is in the end where we are own destined to end up. We will be returned to the earth, and then I believe reborn again.

But for this time that I am here, I’ve decided one of my roles is to safeguard at least these acres. We’ve had movie companies approach us to film movies, that would have brought too much foot traffic to sensitive habit. We’ve had odd offers to grow wasabi from very wealthy people because the water is so clear in the creek. We’ve had multiple offers from some sketchy people to grow what we think is marijuana. Who wants a random acreage in the middle of a forest to lease? You must be doing something sketchy. So our family has decided to leave it for the fish and the salamanders and the earth.

Life is so busy that as a part-“owner” – we’ve only been able to come up no more than once a year. But it’s a blessed time that allows me to re-center. Every time I return, I am reminded how important the work that I am doing in San Diego is. And what we do in southern california, will help preserve places like this. And forests like the one that surrounds me, is doing it’s part by preserving the life that our species has decimated. There are baby deer frolicking around the property, a family of squirrels living in the old stone outdoor stove – every morning so busy. I love that squirrel family. If they had an Instagram account, they’d 100% go viral. But we’ll leave them to live their lives. The badgers, the mountain lions, the bears, the bald eagles, and the deer – we need to leave them some space. The concept of Rewilding is so powerful. But we can only rewild places, if we make our urban lives wonderful and filled with community and love and green spaces – so that the ridiculous suggestion from one of my patients to build a town in this secluded plot doesn’t come to fruition. The last thing we need is another town, where rich citizens flock and pretend to be eco-conscious.

We are just normal doctors that managed our money right. We still work and I have to return to our lives back in southern california soon. We can only keep this property if I continue working. I was so close to quitting years ago in the midst of my burn out, but I am so glad that I did not. Because I did not quit and got better, I have gotten to live this interesting second part of my life trying to fight for our community and climate. My daughter got to pick wildflowers on a farm that our family owns, and sat quietly on our porch and made a crown of daisies. Just like I try to protect her, I believe if we all work in our own ways to better society and address decarbonization – we will pull together as a community and weather the worst of this.

I still have so much fear and anxiety, and those of us in the trenches know that. We know about the catastrophic heat waves coming. We know about the heart disease and kidney damage and premature birth that is caused by global heating, environmental pollution and air pollution in particular. But being here calms my fear. I can still enjoy today. I can still enjoy a crown of daisies that my daughter made, because I know most days I have done so much to help move legislative work in California to address environmental pollution and climate change.

Just thoughts as we end our last few days in Oregon. Thank you for letting me share my journey. And I hope this blogposts finds you well.

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